Spirometry, also known as pulmonary function test, is a simple, painless, office-based test that helps your chest specialist make an accurate assessment of the condition of your lungs. It monitors how much air a person can inhale and how much you are able to exhale and, in so doing, provides essential data for establishing and monitoring the function of a patient’s lungs.
Why are spirometry or pulmonary function tests (PFT) required?
The data derived from these tests is used to make an accurate diagnosis of restrictive and obstructive airway diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (also known as COPD) and other conditions that affect breathing.
These conditions may be seen in children, adults, the elderly and may affect both smokers and non-smokers. They can be seen as a complication of other diseases or as a side effect of certain medications.
Not only are pulmonary function tests used to establish disease, but they are also used to provide a better understanding of disease affecting a specific individual. These tests provide real and objective evidence of how treatment that is being provided to the patient is impacting their lung function and help a doctor understand if treatments are working as they need to. In some cases when deterioration is detected, these tests help your doctor establish that the current treatment may not be adequate and may lead to change or addition of medication in a timely manner to help prevent more permanent damage.
Is specific preparation needed for pulmonary function tests? Should I fast or skip medications prior to the test.
No specific preparations are needed. You can continue with all your medications. However, if you are on an inhaler, your pulmonologist or chest specialist may advise you to skip the dose of inhaler immediately prior to the test.
How is the test conducted? Is the test painful?
Pulmonary function tests are done on an out-patient basis in the clinic. Your chest specialist may ask for this test to be done after you have seen him or prior to your visit with him. This will depend on the specific nature of your problem.
Is Spirometry or Pulmonary Function testing available in Karachi?
At The Chest Clinic, located in the Clifton area in Karachi, Dr. Javed Husain has a well-trained team of technicians, who will conduct the study. The test results will be made available to Dr. Javed Husain who will discuss them with the patient.
A technician will be with the patient throughout the duration of the test and will provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete the examination. In some circumstances the test comprises of two steps both completed the same day. These two steps may show the effect of using a bronchodilator, a medication used to encourage additional passage of air and hence oxygen through the airways. This type of study can help show how a patient is responding to an important class of medications often used in individuals with lung disease.
At the beginning of the test a soft clip will be placed on your nose to stop air escaping from it. During this time, you are still able to breathe comfortably without any sense of pain or discomfort.
The technician will demonstrate to you how to complete the test and then ask you to take a deep breath and inhale fully. Once your lungs are filled with air, the technician will ask you to close your lips tightly around the mouthpiece of the instrument. This mouthpiece is disposable and strictly for single use ensuring that there is no risk of transmission of disease or infection from one patient to another.
The technician will then ask you to breathe out or exhale as quickly and forcefully as you can, making sure you empty your lungs fully.
These steps are repeated at least 3 times to ensure a reliable result.
In certain situations and conditions, a 6 minute walk test is also conducted, in which our technician will walk with the patient for 5 minutes at a particular pace for a measured distance. Walking is completed on a flat surface in the clinic area and can be assisted by the technician.
During this time the technician will continue to monitor the patient’s oxygen saturation, heart rate and presence or absence of breathlessness. These data points are taken into consideration, along with the data from the pulmonary function tests, to calculate a “dyspnea score”. This score is a more objective measure of the degree of breathlessness experienced by a patient and helps guide treatment and intervention.
Spirometry or pulmonary function tests remain a simple, painless but extremely valuable method of better understanding and treating lung disease.
Pulmonary Function tests are available in Karachi at The Chest Clinic- Dr. Javed Husain & Associates. Our Chief Pulmonologist Dr. Javed Husain is a United States trained, triple US board certified chest specialist, certified in Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine. Dr. Javed Husain has well over twenty years of experience treating a diverse array of chest diseases. He is licensed to practice medicine in both the United States and in Pakistan. Consultations with Dr. Javed Husain are available both in person and online. You can call or WhatsApp a request for an appointment at +92 301 847 9066.
We value the trust our patients place in us and our team at The Chest Clinic- Dr. Javed Husain & Associates aims to provide the best possible, ethical, timely, compassionate and up to date care for every single patient.